Rabbie Serumula, author, award-winning poet and journalist. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha
Rabbie Serumula, author, award-winning poet and journalist. Picture: Nokuthula Mbatha

#PoeticLicence: Let corruption not stick its claws into the R100bn fund

By Rabbie Serumula Time of article published Nov 15, 2020

Share this article:

I drove calmly, as do many of us after witnessing a fatal accident on the road.

It was just after 7pm, darkness had faded in. I had just picked up Chico – he has been my go-to-guy for plumbing for the past couple of years.

We were driving from Kagiso, to Krugersdorp in the West rand of Johannesburg.

Chico doesn't usually speak much. So I had to turn down the news on the radio when he said; “I remember this other lady once called me at 2am. Her house was flooded.”

He was triggered by the news anchor on the radio talking about unemployment rates reaching a record high.

He said the lady's house looked like her plates and cups, table and couches, kids toys from under their beds were sinking.

“She drove to my place in those early hours to pick me up. I picked up my tools and we went.”

As though he was replaying the image in his head, he took off his cap, sitting on the passenger side next to me, he turned towards me and said; if you can't wake up to work, you will eat dreams. They will taste like hope If you managed to sleep through the stomach rumblings this time.

They will taste like hope only until you wake up and realise that unemployment is worse in the morning. It rises with the sun.

Declining youth encouragement. A nation in turmoil.

A forecast predicting a people starving.

Voting stations filling. The same can't be said for stomachs.

We still have no tables to put food on, those have sunk in the flood.

No cups, no plates to put food on, those too have sunk in the flood.

The sunken plates on a soaking table, it isn't like there is food to put on them anyway.

This is the plight of the unemployed, the poor, the previously disadvantaged - a breed that has championed living beyond the headline, below the breadline, and above expectations.

A forecast predicting a typhoon caused by the flapping of butterfly wings.

Let corruption not stick its claws into the R100 billion fund announced by President Cyril Ramaphosa to create 800 000 public sector jobs in the next three years as government’s response to the effects of Covid-19 on the economy.

Chico used a valve he had in his tool bag to stop the flooding water he cannoned into.

He said the job took him a while because it was dark. They had to turn off the electricity.

He said the lady gave him R50 after the work and said she would give him R200 later.

Later never came. But Chico said he would go to another job, of the same nature, at the same time if he had to.

Government alone can never create enough jobs. We, the unemployed, the poor, the previously disadvantaged - a breed that has championed living below the breadline, and above expectations – must meet the government halfway by supporting our own local businesses that employ us or our people.

It was an hour later that I had dropped Chico off.

We had spoken of how devastating the rise in unemployment is.

And how we suffer in the name of putting food in our mouths.

If you are reading this, I had a broken tap in a bathroom – nothing looked like it was sinking though – but in true Chico fashion, I don't any more.

The Saturday Star

Share this article: